Winning the Battle for Mobile Shelf Space
The unprecedented adoption of mobile devices will make this holiday season the most connected in history. Consumers are turning to their mobile devices for information, promotions and discounts, giving marketers the opportunity to transform each interaction into a personalized customer experience across every channel — email, SMS, apps, social and the web.
As marketers, you create customer journeys to drive interactions, and smartphones and tablets can drive even greater levels of one-to-one engagement when consumers are on-the-go.
Mobile is fueling a transformation in marketing. Fitting for the holiday season, the parallels between mobile devices and retail store shelves are striking. Think back to the last store you visited. Consider which products you noticed at eye level, and how you maneuvered your way around the aisles. In-store, the shelf is the touchpoint where you meet the brand. In digital marketing, the mobile device becomes that point of interaction, or that "shelf."
This shelf space paradigm makes having an app, email program or Facebook profile no longer enough to compete and win in today's fragmented path to purchase. To build a long-term audience, reflect on the "shelves" within modern mobile devices and start fighting the battle for mobile shelf space.
At its core, the battle for mobile shelf space is a fight for the following:
- Presence: Your brand must have a visible presence on mobile devices so consumers can quickly find you and ultimately become a member of your mobile audience. Responsive websites, search engine optimization, mobile ads, mobile apps and mobile messages (i.e., SMS and push) are just a few ways that your brand must have a mobile presence.
- Access: With so much clutter and communication on mobile, your placement on consumers’ mobile shelves is imperative. Your content must be easily accessible and primary on a mobile device to compete.
- Attention: After you secure a primary spot on a consumer's mobile device or "shelf," it's time to earn the attention you deserve. Prove your value before they choose to unsubscribe, demote you from the home screen, send a STOP message, delete your app or simply ignore you. Your shelf space is taken away when you don't use it well, so provide something helpful and useful to gain the attention of consumers scrolling through their phones for something noteworthy.
- Action: Ensure your call to action is aligned with the marketing channel in use and the past responsiveness of the customer. Define how your mobile messages factor in with other important notifications/alerts to ensure the communication is contextually relevant in the customer journey. To maximize shelf space, brands must contact people as they want to be contacted.
Protect your mobile shelf space in the battle for presence, access, attention and action. Brand fans that follow you on multiple channels are your most engaged customers. The more engaged, the higher purchase propensity, so begin touting your push notifications and SMS programs among your customers to connect with them on the device that has become their dashboard.
R.J. Taylor is the vice president of mobile products at ExactTarget, an email and interactive marketing software provider.
R. J. Talyor is founder and CEO of Pattern89, an artificial intelligence-based software company that optimizes paid social media advertising campaigns. Previously, R.J. was the driver behind ExactTarget’s mobile strategy, including the launch of SMS marketing in 2002 and spearheading mobile marketing during the launch of the iPhone. His leadership was also instrumental when Salesforce acquired ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in 2013, where he became the vice president of mobile products.